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Integrated approaches to landscape planning and management

Multiple landscape uses in Rwanda. Credit: Nicky Jenner/FFI.
Written by: Nicky Jenner
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From desert to tropical forest, mountain range to coastal plain, extractive and agricultural sectors are increasingly affecting even the remotest and most fragile of ecosystems around the world.

Balancing act

These are ecosystems that provide a range of benefits (in the form of ecosystem goods and services) and support multiple objectives for the people and businesses associated with them – for water supply and regulation, food production (commercial and subsistence), energy generation, mineral extraction, tourism, livelihoods and well-being, and biodiversity conservation. Yet as the demand on our natural landscapes and the services they provide intensifies, biodiversity and ecosystem function is being degraded.

High Andean wetland ecosystems. Credit: Nicky Jenner/FFI.

High Andean wetland ecosystems support livelihoods, human well-being and biodiversity and provide vital ecosystem services for the wider region. Credit: Nicky Jenner/FFI.

To support the co-existence of multiple land uses whilst maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem integrity, an integrated and landscape approach to development and conservation planning is urgently needed: working across sectors, scales and stakeholders to balance economic, social, cultural and ecological objectives.

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is working with business, governments and other business influencers to promote integrated landscape planning and management with the aim of maintaining and improving ecosystem health in landscapes affected by extractive and agricultural sectors.

Belize coastline. Credit: Nicky Jenner/FFI.

Large scale changes in land use are increasingly affecting even the remotest and most fragile of ecosystems around the world, including this coastal ecosystem in Belize, impacting biodiversity and ecosystem services. Credit: Nicky Jenner/FFI.

Understanding connections in complex landscapes

To plan effectively for the co-existence of multiple landuses, the maintenance of ecosystem health and the protection of biodiversity it is important to understand:

• The ecological patterns and processes that underpin biodiversity and ecosystem services at different scales across the landscape

• The full range of ecosystem goods and services provided across the landscape and their contribution to human well-being, livelihoods and sustainable economic development

• The impacts and dependencies of different land uses on biodiversity and ecosystem services, the inter-relationships between different land uses, and how one land use impacts another over space and time

Credit: Nicky Jenner/FFI.

Landscapes comprise a complex array of features and must support multiple objectives. This requires an integrated approach to development and conservation planning – one that engages all stakeholders and takes a landscape perspective. Credit: Nicky Jenner/FFI.

With this understanding and the involvement of multiple stakeholders, a systematic and integrated approach to development and conservation planning can be applied; one that seeks to:

• Encompass the multiple benefits that people and businesses derive from the landscape

• Identify the optimal and most sustainable suite of land use options

• Prioritise areas for conservation action

• Foster synergies among interests and actors (e.g. for food production, biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods)

• Minimise negative trade-offs

The following short film produced by the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature initiative provides an excellent introduction to integrated landscape management and its potential to support sustainable development whilst conserving biodiversity and the vital ecological functions on which we all depend.

The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature initiative is a global coalition of leading agriculture, environment and development organisations that have come together to support the broader and more effective use of integrated landscape approaches. Its aim is to advance viable pathways for sustainable development in places where food production, ecosystem health and human well-being must be achieved simultaneously. FFI is a strategic partner in the initiative.

Working across sectors, stakeholders and disciplines

FFI is working with businesses and with business influencers (governments, industry associations, the finance sector, inter-sectoral organisations, civil society organisations and research institutions) to:

• Support landscape level assessments of biodiversity vulnerability, ecosystem services and land use

• Develop and integrate practical tools aimed at helping business and business influencers to take account of biodiversity and ecosystem services in decision-making

• Broker partnerships and facilitate multi-stakeholder processes to support more holistic and sustainable approaches to development and conservation planning

• Investigate the viability of different mechanisms and approaches for securing long-term biodiversity conservation outcomes in landscapes affected by extractive and agricultural sectors

• Raise awareness and build capacity to enable the implementation of integrated landscape planning and management approaches.

Written by
Nicky Jenner

Nicky is Fauna & Flora International’s Integrated Conservation Planning Specialist. Her work focuses on the application of landscape level approaches to conservation and development planning in areas identified as a priority for biodiversity conservation and that are affected by extractive and/or agricultural sectors. The involvement of all stakeholders and an understanding of the complex relationships between people and ecosystems are central to this work. Nicky has a PhD in Biodiversity Management and has worked on conservation, international development and research projects across parts of Africa and Latin America.

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